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WPS Career Tech Program is Model for Nation

WHS student panel with Scott Stump


The Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education got a virtual view of Westminster High School’s Career Technical Education (CTE) program last week and clearly liked what he saw.

“I was impressed with students, specifically their resilience during Covid-19,” Scott Stump said after the visit.” I appreciated learning about their career aspirations and how Westminster has equipped them to pursue their next steps. “

The Assistant Secretary spent more than an hour with CTE teachers and students to learn about the school’s 15 career pathways and ask questions about the challenges of teaching and learning during a pandemic. Westminster High School was recommended to Stump by Colorado CTE leaders who are impressed by the school’s program and the steps it takes to prepare students for career and college opportunities after high school graduation.

“There is nothing more I would rather do than brag about my kids and staff,” said Principal Kiffany Kiewiet at the start of the virtual meeting. “We are always encouraging our students to shoot for the stars."

After a brief overview of all of the CTE programs offered by the school, including details about a food truck to be operated by the culinary arts program in the future, Stump asked teachers and students for tips to share with other educators about their experiences with in-person and remote learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Be patient and aware of all the distractions students are facing,” advised Computer Science teacher Sergio Figueroa.

Other teachers stressed how important it was to send students home with meaningful work that makes good use of their time when they are out of the classroom. “That way kids can come back and hit the ground running,” said Construction teacher Sean MacDonnell.

Like his other classmates, student Dominique Chanthongthip said how happy he was to be back in school but acknowledged that all the uncertainty about COVID-19 takes its toll. “It’s been a real challenge and scary,” he told the group.

Ivan Banuelos, who is taking classes in Bio-Med praised his school for how it has handled the crisis. “I’m confident that they are making the school safe,” he said. “There is a real spirit of the community.”

Like everyone else, the Assistant Secretary can’t wait for the pandemic to be over so he can get out of Washington, D.C.

“I hope I will be able to stop by in person in the near future to see firsthand the great work being done at Westminster,“ he said.